How it feels to lose an EFF election

 

 

The former chairperson of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Dali Mpofu, was ousted with three others last weekend. But he is a man in high spirits. Sitting with the Mail & Guardian in his Sandown offices, he said he was planning his holiday to the Eastern Cape, taking on new cases and that he was happy about the results of the party’s second national assembly in Nasrec, south of Johannesburg.

Mpofu’s slate included EFF’s Gauteng chairperson, Mandisa Mashego, both were nominated for deputy president and secretary-general respectively. Both lost the race and their losses were each met with loud celebrations from the floor.

READ MORE: Mandisa Mashego: The EFF ‘shit-stirrer’

“The issues that we wanted to assert was the principle of contestation,” Mpofu told the M&G.

The top six is now Julius Malema, Floyd Shivambu, Veronica Mente, Marshall Dlamini, Omphile Maotwe and Poppy Mailola.

Mpofu said: “The point of this exercise was not to win. If I wanted to win I could have campaigned and went to the provinces, given people money, what people do in politics. It had nothing to do with winning it was about asserting the principle that there’s no position that is beyond contestation, starting from Julius’s position to the lowest position.”

The closest example of what he believes he did this past weekend was what happened in Mangaung in 2012. He explained that only one person stood against Jacob Zuma when he was standing for a second term as the president of the African National Congress.

“Kgalema Motlanthe simply stood at the conference for the principle. He knew he was going to lose because he never campaigned. But it was an important thing because history will show that one person stood against Zuma. And he stood for the principle that there must be contestation,” he said.

He added that: “I did not accept any of the other positions because I could have won the chairperson position but that was not the point of this. You don’t have to hold a position to play a role. I will continue to build the EFF and grow it. I will go where I am sent.”

The advocate has another full-time job, and said he is very happy to fully focus on that going into the new year.

“Law and politics have always both been important to me. I have been doing the politics thing for 40 years, it’s part of my DNA and it has propelled everything else I do. And law is important in its own right,” he said.

Without the chairperson position, he will be able to take on more cases. His team, for example, will be reviving the Marikana cases. The wounded and arrested miners he has been representing for more than five years will be receiving the case of their civil claim against President Cyril Ramaphosa. Mpofu would not go into detail about this case, but to say that he has been given instructions to file papers in February.

He will also be focusing on the Peter Moyo vs Old Mutual cases, including an attempt to get a declaration that the board members of the company are delinquents.

He is also acting for the Public Protector against the South African Revenue Services in regards to former President Jacob Zuma’s tax records.

The M&G also understands that there is a possibility he could also represent convicted Czech underworld boss Radovan Krejčíř.

“Since I am no longer an office-bearer of the EFF I will be able to act for the party. It was a conflict during that time. There were people who wanted me to represent the EFF at the time and I had to explain why I couldn’t. But having me to advise them has always been an advantage for the party. And it will even be better now that I am an ordinary member and available.”

In Mpofu’s mind, in comparison to the ANC’s Nasrec elective conference two years ago, theirs was more successful.

“This is probably one of the most successful conferences of your political parties. There was no blood on the floor. If you compare our Nasrec conference to that of the ANC’s there was a real difference. It was well organised, good participation, democratic participation, and good spirits. It was really a great experience and a major success. I think that as an insider, I can tell you that after this conference that the EFF is probably 10 times stronger than it was before the conference.”

Athandiwe Saba
Athandiwe Saba

Athandiwe Saba is a multi award-winning journalist who is passionate about data, human interest issues, governance and everything that isn’t on social media. She is an author, an avid reader and trying to find the answer to the perfect balance between investigative journalism, online audiences and the decline in newspaper sales. It’s a rough world and a rewarding profession.

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